Northern Pearly-Eye (Enodia anthedon) (A.H. Clark, 1936)
Diagnosis: This medium-sized butterfly is soft purplish brown in colour above and below, with slightly scalloped wing margins. The forewings have four pale-bordered dark spots above, repeated on the underside with white pupils. The second spot is always much smaller (sometimes absent) on the upperside. The hindwings have five similar spots above and six beneath; the last one on the underside has a double pupil. Wingspan: 43 to 53 mm.
Range: Enodia anthedon is found throughout most of the central and eastern U.S., and in Canada from Nova Scotia to east-central Alberta, reaching north to Chicoutimi County, Quebec, Sioux Lookout,Ontario, Flin Flon, Manitoba, and La Ronge, Saskatchewan.
Similar Species: The Appalachian Brown (Satyrodes appalachia) is similar in colour, but its wings are more rounded rather than scalloped and the second forewing spot is not noticeably smaller. [compare images]
Early Stages: The larvae are yellowish green, with alternate green and yellow lateral stripes. The tails are pink and the horns on the head are red. They feed on woodland grasses, including Bearded Shortgrass (Brachyelytrum erectum) and False Melic Grass (Schizachne purpurascens) and overwinter in the first instar.
Abundance: The Northern Pearly-Eye is locally common throughout most of its range.
Flight Season: It flies from mid-June to early August, one generation per year in Canada, two farther south.
Habits: Enodia anthedon is one of the few truly shade-loving butterflies in Canada. It is found only in rich deciduous or mixed wooded areas, usually where the undergrowth is thick. Unlike most other species, which prefer trails, clearings, and woods edges, it is usually found in dense areas, seemingly unaffected by the shade. It often lands, and roosts, on tree trunks, one to three metres from the ground,and feeds on sap, dung, and mud, almost never on flowers.
Probably because of its shade-loving tendencies, the Northern Pearly-Eye is often seen flying around woods edges on cloudy days. It also flies much later in the day than other species, and is often seen basking in the last small sunny patches at 8 p.m. or even later.
© 2002. This material is reproduced with permission from The Butterflies of Canada by Ross A. Layberry, Peter W. Hall, and J. Donald Lafontaine. University of Toronto Press; 1998. Specimen photos courtesy of John T. Fowler.
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